welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

We made it!

We left Norfolk on a beautiful sunny day - last Thursday to be more specific. As much as we would have loved to visit family and friends in the Chesapeake area and around DC and New Jersey, we knew that reality dictated our highest priority should be just getting the darn boat to New England already. And so it was with apprehension and excitement that we departed for what would likely be our last offshore passage, the 400-mile hop to Mystic, CT (our final destination, and home to Allen's dad and stepmom, two of Ute's biggest supporters!).

"Why Connecticut?" is the question lots of you have asked, and the simple answers are: we have family there; it's north of the hurricane zone, but still not so far north that we'd never get there; and, perhaps most importantly, it's arguably the best market to sell a 40-year-old Bristol 32. Not only was Ute built in nearby Bristol, Rhode Island, but she's a proud member of a genre of classic-plastic boats that is more appreciated here than in other parts of the country (nobody in Miami wants a 40 year old boat that goes 6 miles an hour. nobody.) It still could take a little while to find her next keeper, but our odds are better here.

The four-day northbound passage was, for the most part, uneventful and lovely, although we did have about 12 hours of the kind of weather that made us wonder, again, whose stupid idea was this, anyway? But it seemed only appropriate that our last big leg of our trip would cycle us through all of our very mixed emotions about spending nearly 2 years voyaging on a tiny boat. And we were seriously seasick just long enough to keep us from getting sentimental about this lifestyle that we'll soon be giving up.

Instead of going straight to Mystic, we pulled into Montauk, Long Island, for a too-short night's sleep on Sunday. The thorny calculus of wind, tides, currents and routing that makes Long Island Sound a famous sailing ground meant that we had to wait until Monday morning to make the last 20-mile jaunt over to Mystic, on the other side of the Sound. This was fine with us as our bodies were a little worn out from the seasick chapter. Montauk evidently is a native American word meaning, "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" and let's just say the locals didn't fully appreciate the little Emeryville touches Ute brought in: it was sort of a nautical version of the Beverly Hillbillies as we blitzed our way into Lake Montauk, exhausted, after dark, searching out the channel markers with a million-candle-power spotlight we pirated from a Dumpster a few years back. But we made it into the anchorage at last, dropped the hook, and promptly passed out.

We awoke to a perfect foggy New England morning yesterday and pulled out of Montauk to cross the Sound, wondering if the horror stories we'd heard about "The Race" would prove true. I guess we picked a good day and the right weather and tides, because while the seas were distinctly washing-machine-like, the crossing was fun and exhilirating without getting ugly at any point. It was easy to see, though, how that stretch of the sound could kick our butts under different conditions. The Sound was beautiful, and reading in our cruising guide about all its little nooks and crannies that can be readily explored by boat made us wish we had a month to just poke around......

We entered the Mystic River with the aid of the flood tide (timing is everything in sailing) and were thrilled to see a side of Mystic we haven't before. One of the biggest joys of this trip is sailing into familiar ports and seeing them in a whole new light - approaching from the water offers us a whole new understanding of the geography of a place. It really was beautiful!

As we approached our very last bridge we smiled at the sight of Rick cheering us on from a nearby dock along with an impromptu cheering section. At that moment it began to feel real that we had sailed for 22 months and several thousand miles to get here! We exchanged Top Fives all around.

As if the glow of finally arriving wasn't enough, we soon found that our anchorage in Mystic is right next to the Mystic Seaport, directly across from Rick and Ellen's house, and - major bonus - one of their neighbors was nice enough to let us use their dinghy dock so we could actually get to land! And what a thrill it was, this getting to land - we enjoyed a delicious dinner, hot baths, and cold drinks: a cruising sailor's trifecta of bliss. Thanks Rick and Ellen!

So I guess this is it for now....but we'll still be posting on the blog, I'm sure. It just will get really domestic and boring, I suppose.....

Thanks a million to all of our friends and family for your support, understanding, contributions (of both the tangible and intangible variety), enthusiasm, and major logistical assitance. It's hard for us to know where to start in showing our gratitude for everyone that helped us along the way, but we're gonna try and let folks know just how much it meant to us, one person at a time.

And for the dozens of you who have been asking, "So, what's next?", we've created a special "What's Next" link just for you in the sidebar to the left of this post....

With lots of love and gratitude from Mystic, UTE


Anonymous said...

We have raised the rum bottle to you both here on the Rio Dulce this evening, what a great adventure and heres to many more!!
I am certain your lives will never become boring or mundane, how can they when there are so many events to get into costume for!!!
Best wishes G&G Katinka xx

Anonymous said...

Congratulations you salty dogs for making such an epic journey. Quite an accomplishment from our days with Argo and Hey Moe. Good on Ya! Wonderful to hear you've reached your destination. I'm sure the next dog for you will be Boo, who you'll love all over again. Cheers and happy trails,

s/v Maia
Hamilton Island, QLD (tonight anyway)

Rebecca said...

Yay for you both! I've had such a great time following your adventures--looking forward to the next one!

Lightstation said...

What they all said and Happy Anniversary too.
-Katy, Elan, and Boy

Rebecca said...

Beth says your next adventure should be the Minnesota State Fair...milk chug a lug contest is at 2:30 PM, September 1...

Anonymous said...

congrats you guys!! we knew you could do it!!! R & C